What wet weather we are having

with strong wind to boot. It has been hard to get outdoors to exercise and doglet looks a tad chunky. Much of that can be attributed to her love of cat food leftovers. High in fat, it is a bit like chocolate to us humans….we watch them both like hawks when it is meal time, but I have caught Juno growling softly near Moss’s bowl when he is eating. He in return, seems to be like that annoying sibling that chews very, very slowly because he knows that no one can leave the table until everyone has finished….Em says it is like having two toddlers in the house much of the time. Juno wants at his plate so he drags it out.

We are off to Estonia later this week. A trip planned long ago and with, it now seems, not much skill. Convinced we were heading for deep snow and dog sledding, we have discovered that there is as yet, none of the white stuff. Yikes. It is however very cold. We have consoled ourselves with the promise of a day trip to Helsinki and a spa treatment or two. (I have of course got a long list of yarny places to visit and hope to learn about their beautiful knitting patterns).


And they are off…

Last night, after one year and 357 days, my braces were removed. It was a bit of an ordeal, with much terrifying cracking and toe-curling grinding. It was however worth it and I cannot stop looking at my straight and healthy looking teeth. Very proud. Soon to be 58 and think it was worth it.

Also cracked week 1 in Couch to 5k. It did take two weeks to do, but it is there now, in the bag.

Sock knitting, housework and a chilled meal out tonight with the WC, Em and her beau. Bring on the spinach I say!


New boots and a sad walk.

The dog and I went to our fav spot at Birling Gap to test out my new walking boots today. They are last year’s birthday pressie from the WC. It has taken a long time to find the right pair, (at the right price…). They are fabulous.¬† Leather, waterproof and hardwearing. Perfect for snow…and walking of course. Snow is on the agenda though, next month we are hoping to see a lot of it.

Sadly the beach access was closed today as someone had jumped from one of the cliffs and the steps were cordoned off to retrieve the remains. We walked away from the scene towards Beachy Head instead. Recent cracks and landfalls meant that the walking area has been taped off so the dog was unable to nose around in the gorse. Regardless, it was blowy, sunny and warm and stretching our legs, albeit on a shorter walk than usual was lovely.


You can probably just see the two places in the centre of the photo where there have been landslides. Within a few short weeks of each other; the centre one is the biggest.

Em volunteered with the local wildlife rescue centre last week and as a newbie was told she would be cleaning. Clean she did, hedgehog cages! She also weighed them. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend an evening.




Home can be unsettling.

I am in bed in Queensland, listening to Australian birds. Kookaburras before sunrise, lorikeets, crows, magpies and other, smaller birds. It is nothing like the cheerful song of British garden birds! But I love it and it feels like home and bird calls are one thing I have always missed about Australia. My father once sent me a recording of Aussie birds when I was living in Japan. It made me very homesick.

This is the first time back since he passed away and things are unsettled. Eczema has flared suddenly, angrily in the last five days. I am talking about a move to the UK with Mum, who seems interested, although she can list twice as many reasons to stay. She admits though to extreme loneliness and isolation. My sisters are marvellous but it is a flight to the nearest one of over an hour. It is between their visits when she spends days on end alone that concern us all. She gets to the shops once a week on the community bus. She has a few friends but they are friends because they are experiencing the same things and might not have been her choice. The nearest sister may be making an international move herself and so it all seems sensible that she come to me.

It is daunting. It is causing a range of emotions. I fear that without Mum here my ties to Australia will weaken and die. Having siblings in a foreign country is different to having a parent to travel to see.

And I am tired. It was a bit of a schlep this time. Delays and a very small plane with people shoulder to shoulder all the way.

It is a tough position to be in. Mum needs to retain her autonomy but the thought of her being lonely all the time is not tenable.

The sun is out now and the female magpie will be appearing with her noisy chick in the garden soon. She had one last year and we fed both when they came to the door, making their peeping noises.


Bitter jam

We took Japanese granny on another long, sunny walk this week, beside a river, to collect berries. Blackberries and sloes. It was breathtaking. Clear, blue skies, warm sun, dragonflies, swans, cattle, sheep, birds and beautiful autumn hedgerows. We did well with our little haul, and were scratched and stung and stained to prove it.

The resulting jam was not a success however. It is bitter. I did not see it being made, but it was done very quickly, with almost no added water (not that jam needs much) and I worried that might have been part of the problem. Sloes may need some sort of extra help to coax the bitterness out. With sloe gin, one just adds sugar and gin and waits for a few months. Granny has gone off to Liverpool now and there is not enough time to get her back out into the fields to try again before she heads off again. On top of that, we have two jars of bitter jam. Yikes.

It feels as though we have wasted some of this season’s bounty. The search continues for methods to improve the product however.

In less than a week I head off to Australia. It is a surreal feeling. I know all will be well here with the WC looking after Em, but I worry anyway. The thought of being back in Australia is lovely however. This time we celebrate Mum’s 80th with a couple of planned gatherings. Recipes are being tested daily for the party, according to reports. Getting excited.


After 107 alcohol free days I had a drink. A few in fact. It was a choice, it was a considered action but deep down I knew that that old wine bitch was lurking about. After sharing some of the bottle with Japanese granny, I finished it.

It might sound like hindsight, but it felt in some way as though I was proving a point. That there in fact no off button. This morning the WC said the same thing in a nutshell. That I know now that old habits are hard to break. I did not beat myself up. I am off booze again and the truth is that while I missed it, I also LIKE not drinking. Especially not feeling puffy and seedy.

The blog’s name has changed. I now live in a house that has an abundance of heavily scented roses in the garden, many of which are in late summer/autumn bloom. And there are seagulls all around on the rooftops. They are noisy but I love to be reminded that the sea is minutes away.


Storm Bronagh is looming and despite the huge winds, we headed to Birling Gap with Japanese granny today, to pick blackberries. The wind was too strong to walk into at times and we stuck close to the pathways and hedgerows and collected enough to make a small jar or two of jam. We also picked up some sloes and damsons yesterday.

The wild sea and wind were soothing to the soul.

We’ve all needed a bit of soothing lately.

There is a discussion being had on both sides of the world about moving Eve (my mother) to the UK. She lives an isolated, lonely life in a place that worked well when Dad was alive as it was chosen because it was close to where his medical needs could be met. For her though it is not suitable. Nothing is near. She gets to the shops once a week on the bus and spends days with little or no contact. Life changing for her, for me and the WC. Will keep you posted.






Gasping for air

is a bit how I feel at present. Lots of work, many back to back days and loads of nights.

We have added to our tribe. Moss, a black tabby kitten. From a home full of dogs, babies, people and lots of coming and going, he arrived with his tail held high, fully litter trained and we all love him. Even old Juno has accepted the manic thing that races up and down the corridor. If I could find my memory stick, photos are to be had.

I had a blip at work and just lost all sense of order, followed by a surge of self doubt that resulted in tears. Taken aside by a very young, very competent nurse, I was reminded that it is only 4 months into the job and we are at the high end of nursing as we are expected to have a wide range of knowledge and skills to cover the many demands made on us. A few days later and some additional training skills now under my belt and things look brighter. Still love it.

Am at day 77 of no drinking but love a glass of Seedlip with ice and lime at the end of a long day.

Em is about to start work with the WC and has been cooking meals most nights. I honestly believe that despite her black dog days, she is blossoming here.

We attended Airbourne on Saturday with really good friends. On the beach on our camping chairs watching fantastic aerobatic displays. Home for dinner and laughs around the dining table. Great weekend.

Today I went to the local Vietnamese nail bar for a pedicure. It was heaven. They gave me Vietnamese coffee and I watched Vietnamese pop on their screen!

Time ran away

Just too busy to post. On our return from Cornwall, the lovely C came to visit on her annual trip from Japan. What can I say? Some people just make life better. We talked (and talked) and ate great food and walked. We covered some of the Seven Sisters and we also ate much cake. We sat over dinner and laughed with the WC and Em. She spent a day with Em, eating chips on the beach, and seeing the sights of Eastbourne, (and the charity shops). Em glows in her presence and it was wonderful to see. It will be another year before we see her, but it is always the highlight of the summer. Love you girl.

The WC loves cats. Big time. His Bella died last year as did our Bosley. He (we) have long talked about getting a cat. Juno moved into a home with a cat and grew up with him, frequently being thumped when she got too much, but has that annoying habit of glaring menacingly at strange felines. Except for the little one that lives two doors down. No way will Juno go near that lady. She is feisty.

My angst about getting a pet is that there are so many homeless ones. Apparently black and black and white cats linger in homes waiting for families. It has however been very hard to find a cat that would live with Juno. So we thought a kitten. Again the homes I am listed with have yet to get kittens in. I look at cat ads, (sad) and today found a boy, 11 weeks old, black that has been looking for a home since he was listed with his siblings months ago. No one wants him it seems. All his siblings have gone. He may be a psychopathic pussy, or just not cute enough. I showed him to the WC who went all melty and said go and get him. Mmmm. I am going to meet him and his family first. We will see I said. No promises I said. The WC has gone to play golf, all excited about what he might find when he gets home…It is a huge responsibility in light of what happened to Maximo.

Will keep you posted.

On the booze front, I am still off it. At my Irish/Arab cousin’s wedding a few weeks ago I survived a whole day/night on Beck’s Blue and tonic water. I danced and talked and loved meeting cousins I have not seen in nigh on 40 years. It was such a hoot.

Feeling behind on the home front. We have done a lot of work in the garden. The WC accidentally chopped down one of the more showy climbing roses yesterday. It is just a stick now. It was distressing but done with the right intentions.

Boxes remain to be unpacked but they are slowly going. Three days off now to potter, unpack, sort, garden, read and chill.

Still cannot upload photos so am saving for a new laptop.



51 and counting

51 days alcohol free. Feeling good and proud. Very proud that I survived a long weekend in Cornwall in a grade II listed house with 10 other folk who do like a bottle¬†drop or two of wine/beer/scotch. Comments were made about how ‘good’ I was and of course questions about why I would deprive myself of the warm, fuzzy, increasingly blurring feeling that booze brings. I was honest. I drink/drank too much. I liked that I could also say it was a 100 day challenge. It sounds committed. I spoke a great deal about The Sober Diaries by Clare Pooley and how it made me recognise that booze is a bitch, or a witch as she says. Whether it goes beyond 100 days remains to be seen.

Cornwall was stunning. Pics to follow as I am on the WC’s laptop and it is beyond me to fathom how to load them. Also, I have just finished a night shift followed by many lengths of the hospital pool so am tired…

This weekend I head to another booze fuelled event, a cousin’s wedding and a reunion with some of the extended Irish family. Once that has passed I am thinking of adding another element to the no booze thingy. While in Cornwall we walked a lot and swam, the water was wonderful as were the waves and the beach. There was a lot of exercise. The WC (and I) also did a dancing lesson one night for all. Such a hoot. The last two nights I was on duty and followed the shifts with a swim in the pool. On both occasions I was alone. Bliss. I love the physical side of the last week. Feeling pooped at the end of the day and aching a little here and there. I am however not losing weight. Just getting more solid. ‘It’s muscle’ is a cry that I am getting tired of. So I am thinking of greatly reducing sugar and just reducing carbs for the latter half of the challenge. Will keep you posted.